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BRIEFING FOR BAYWAY COMMUNITY RESIDENTS

Walter Donnelly
Alliance for Bayway Communities (ABC) Leadership Team

With most residents now back in the area following holiday travel, the Bayway Alliance will now pick up where we left off in mid-December.

You'll recall that we've taken on three areas of work that would benefit all Bayway area residents: 1) the plans for changes to the water treatment plant; 2) Pinellas Bayway landscaping improvements; and 3) traffic, cycle and pedestrian safety. We've made progress in all three areas, and will be active in the next several weeks with follow-up action. Details follow.

Water Treatment Plant

In follow-up to our Dec 1st session with the City engineers, on Wednesday January 7th, the Alliance will appear before the City Development Review Commission (DRC), as the Commission deals with approval of the design of the new 15 million gallon treated water tank. This is a necessary step before the tank can come up for a funding vote by the City Council later this month.

The Alliance will support the City's plans subject to conditions that I'd summarize this way: We Bayway-ites don't want to see it [i.e., landscaping], and we don't want to smell it [i.e., odor control!] We've already provided the City with our input in writing. We'll repeat our input verbally in front of the DRC to make sure everyone is listening.

Landscaping

It looks like the Alliance has had an impact on the City's Bayway landscaping plans. When we first broached the subject with city and state officials last summer, we were told "We'll mow. That's all you get." It looks like our persistence has paid off: I'm attaching a copy of a Dec 5 memo from the City's Engineering/Landscaping Ditector to our Councilman, Steve Kornell. It outlines a $1+ million landscaping plan for the Bayway and the Skyway Marina District (34th Street.) In follow-up, Bob Kay (Palma 5) of the Alliance leadership team has arranged for a landscaping meeting at Isla del Sol Y&CC on January 28th at 1:30PM. Mike Dove, the City's Director of Neighborhood Affairs, will lead the City's delegation. All Alliance member Associations will be invited to participate. We'll have more to say on this event when plans firm up.

Safety

We've just heard that the City has authorized a $1.8 million project to start construction on the last piece of the Bayway bike trail, on the south side of the road from the eastern toll booth to the Isla Y&CC stop light. Construction will start this month and be completed by August. We'll share details of the path location when we get the drawings. The City engineers are also discussing how to foster cyclist and pedestrian safety with us. Their current plans are for a combination of warning signs for both drivers crossing the bike path, and for cyclists on the path, and a series of educational presentations for Associations on how to keep everyone safe. We're not sure that will be enough, but the City engineers seem open to considering any safety improvement ideas.

We're just getting off the ground on improvements to automobile traffic flow around the Bahia complex and adjacent to the new bridge. The Alliance is discussing traffic ideas with the Bahia HOA, and will be following up on the FDOT's promise of a traffic study in that neck of the woods during February.

Other Items

We have an appointment on Jan 15th, to meet with him for the purpose of introducing him to our Alliance, We're just planning on a courtesy call, but we'll make sure that he understands that we now represent 32 associations and nearly 5000 residents! In our half hour with him, I'm sure that the Treatment Plant, Bayway landscaping, and traffic off the new bridge will come up in the discussion.

As part of our landscaping initiative, we'll now also start to arrange for a couple of us to make a trip to Tallahassee to meet with our Rep. Peters, Sen Brandes and the FDOT management. We intend to try and change their thinking that it's OK to maintain the Bayway in the same manner as the Interstate.  Rep. Peters and Sen. Brandes have voiced support for us in the past, but perhaps we can convince them to now help with a phone call or meeting with the DOT Commissioner.

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